CA COVID-19 Rent Relief

As of March 15, 2021, the state has begun to accept applications to distribute the first $2.6 billion of direct rental assistance. This was allocated to California from the December 2020 federal stimulus package. Tenants and housing providers will be eligible for up to a year of unpaid back rent (April 2020 through March 2021) and allow up to three months of future rent payments (April 2021 through June 2021), depending on the availability of funds. Both tenants and housing providers are eligible to apply if certain criteria are met. 

  • The program is voluntary for housing providers to participate and apply but they will only be able to receive up to 80% of unpaid back rent and must forgo the remaining 20%
  • Tenants of housing providers who do not opt into the program will be eligible to apply for a 25% payment of unpaid rent so they will be protected monthly from the eviction moratorium until it expires.

The bill prioritizes households with the highest need for rent relief, targeting households with less than 80% area median income (AMI) and utilizing rounds to prioritize those who need rent relief the most:

  • Round 1: Below 50% AMI or unemployed for 90 days.
  • Round 2: Income below 80% AMI and in a community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
  • Round 3: Everyone below 80% AMI not addressed in round 1 or 2 above.

The state has created a housing provider checklist and a tenant checklist for the requirements to complete a rental assistance application.

The portal that you can use to apply for state rental assistance is now live.

The City of San Jose and the County of Santa Clara will receive additional funds to implement local rental assistance programs. These local programs will give first priority to extremely low-income tenants making 30% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). Local aid has been made available and applications are accepted at the same link as above.

The most recent federal stimulus package has been signed into law (American Rescue Plan) and will allocate additional funds to these rental assistance programs, as well as a homeowner assistance fund (mortgage assistance, unpaid utilities, and more).

 

In order to preserve their rights to seek damages and pursue unlawful detainer lawsuits against non-paying tenants after the expiration of the eviction moratorium on June 30, 2021, and their rights to apply for missed rent assistance, landlords must follow these procedures:

  • No later than February 28, 2021: Provide tenants who missed rent payments between April 1, 2020 through February 1, 2021 with an informational notice of the extension of the Act and the establishment of the rental assistance program. An example of this notice prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available here. Landlords who do not timely provide this notice cannot serve tenants with a 15-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit (described below).
  • Each time a tenant fails to pay the rent due for a rental period (typically the first of the month), serve the tenant with:
  • (1) a “Notice from the State of California” – An example of this notice prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available at this link.
  • (2) a blank “Declaration of COVID-19-Related Financial Distress” – An example of this notice prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available at this link.
  • (3) a “15-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit” – An example of this notice prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available at this link.
  • If the landlord has information on file that the tenant is a “high-income tenant” who makes over 130% of the median income in that county, they may request additional information proving the hardship. An example of this notice to be used in this circumstance prepared by the California Department of Real Estate is available at this link.

The California Association of REALTORS recently hosted a webinar on SB 91, which can be viewed here (required C.A.R. login).

The SCCAOR General Membership Meeting was held on Thursday, February 18, 2021. It featured guest speakers Tommy Choi and Kristian Hoysradt from the National Association of REALTORS®. We also heard state updates from Sean Bellach,  Government Affairs Field Representative from the California Association of REALTORS®.

Mark Messimer from MLSListings, Inc., gave an industry update and a preview of his upcoming MLS Monday session. Finally, we heard a report from Gustavo Gonzalez on the recent C.A.R. Winter meetings and a quick SCCAOR update from Spencer High.

Watch the recording here:

Congressional leaders struck a deal Sunday on a nearly $900 billion coronavirus relief bill that will bring a new round of support to millions of Americans before year’s end. The bill passed both houses of Congress yesterday, and the President signed it into law earlier this week.

The agreement contains many priorities championed by NAR, including rental assistance, a fresh round of funding and simplified forgiveness for SBA loans, and more direct payments to Americans.

“Through this bill, our members will continue to have access to unemployment and small business assistance.  But perhaps one of the biggest wins is rental assistance, which we have fought hard for since the last major COVID-19 bill was passed in April. It will bring instant relief to both mom-and-pop property owners and American families in danger of going over a financial cliff at the end of the year,” says Shannon McGahn, chief advocacy officer for NAR.

“While this bill hit more traditional political obstacles than the ones passed earlier this year, it was always a must-pass bill,” McGahn says.  “One in five of our members took out a PPP loan. We made sure that Congress knew these items were critical to America’s 1.4 million REALTORS® and the economy as a whole.”

Specifically, the agreement reportedly:

  • Provides a new round of direct stimulus payments of $600 to most Americans including dependents
  • Extends all unemployment assistance, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), through April 19, 2021, with a $300 weekly boost in payments through  March 14.
    • Unemployment benefits are extended to the self-employed
  • Provides an additional $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and $20 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) grants
    • Allows certain eligible businesses to receive a second PPP loan
    • Creates a simplified forgiveness process for most PPP borrowers
    • Allows for deductibility of business expenses paid for with PPP funds
  • Provides $25 billion to the states through Sept. 30, 2022, for rental assistance and allows landlords to apply for funds on behalf of tenants
    • Includes payments for rent in arrears as well as utilities and other expenses related to housing
    • Extends federal eviction ban through the end of January
  • Provides $7 billion to states for broadband expansion, including $300 million for rural broadband
  • Provides new money for schools and vaccine distribution

Read more on NAR’s website about how this will impact your real estate business.

By Sandy Jamison

As I reflect back on this interesting year of 2020 I think back to my initial vision for the year: “A Strategic Vision For The Future.”  While there is no way I could have possibly visualized or predicted a year quite like this great pandemic, I can say however, that the challenges have created opportunities that will leave our association and many of our members stronger than before.  We have achieved some great advances throughout the year and we will come out of this stronger than we went into it.  You know the saying, “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  This year has made the association stronger and we are very well positioned as we head into 2021.

It’s been an honor to be able to serve as your President through this fascinating year.  It’s a year to remember and one that I will never forget.  It’s been a year full of ups and downs personally and professionally.  We have new professional and societal norms that will become new ways of life.  This will become an iconic year of 2020 that will leave a lasting mark on all of our lives.

My goal this year was to make sure that I leave the Association in a better position than it was when I stepped into the role. I believe I have accomplished that mission with the help and dedication of the entire staff at SCCAOR, the Board of Directors, and all the volunteers who give of themselves tirelessly for the benefit of all of our members.

Looking back to the beginning of the year, my Top 3 Goals to have a clear vision for 2020 were:

1 – MEMBERS:  Provide Best-in-Class Member Benefits at the most Competitive Prices while Strengthening the Association.

2 – ADVOCACY: Develop and Implement Best-in-Class Communications Strategies to Enhance Member Engagement and Advocacy Impact.

3 – OPERATIONS: Focus on Operational Excellence through Process and Technology Implementations to Improve Productivity and Efficiency.

Despite COVID setbacks we actually accomplished quite a lot of our goals for the year.  Some people may believe we’ve been sitting around at home not working, but to the contrary, Neil and the entire SCCAOR staff have been very busy this year implementing a lot of great new systems and tools.  Let me tell you about a few of the behind-the-scenes projects we accomplished this year…

For the back office we implemented a new mobile payment and expense processing system.  We no longer have to drive to the office to sign checks or manually process the bills.  We rolled out TinyPulse, an organizational satisfaction tool for the staff.  We hired a financial consultant to assist SCCAOR with their assets and investments.  We implemented EveryActionCRM, which is an advocacy tool to manage key contacts, Red Alerts, campaigns, and key issues for our Government Relations team.  We also approved a new full time PR person for 2021 to help promote SCCAOR’s messages to the public in order to make a larger impact.  Along with approving the PR person to start in 2021, we also approved the implementation of a PR management and tracking tool to go complement our advocacy and communications goals.

For our members we finally found a web-based training solution, AgentEDU, and rolled it out to our members as a free benefit.  We had already rolled out Zoom room technologies before the pandemic to facilitate remote meetings – this was a savior when the pandemic hit as we were already set up.  We changed out our online storefront technology to make it more intuitive and user friendly.  Online sales have picked up significantly and now members can buy materials more easily.  We continued to allow photography appointments, drive-by store pickups and appointments with customer service for members needing assistance.  While all the nearby associations closed up shop and declined appointments, SCCAOR found a way to continue to serve our members needs both in San Jose and in South County.

SCCAOR reacted quickly and adapted the business swiftly to find ways to continue to serve our members and keep everyone informed of the constantly changing health order guidelines.

While we started off the beginning of the year looking at our MLS challenges and opportunities, that is the one project we were not able to complete due to the pandemic.  I truly hope the members and future board will take a close look at how our MLS solution could better service our members into the future.  Just know I will continue to advocate for all of our members and look for opportunities to make our industry stronger.

So what does all of this mean for you?  Well, we delivered on our theme…”a Strategic Vision for The Future”.  We improved our operational efficiencies, we strengthened our Advocacy effectiveness, and we delivered more value and resources to our members.  It’s been an amazing year of growth through the implementation of new systems across the board.  Through the implementation of these systems, we have more reporting available, more management capabilities and therefore a CLEARER MORE STRATEGIC VIEW OF THE FUTURE.

I feel like I am just getting started and I have so much more I want to accomplish for our members especially around new member tools…but sadly I only had 1 year as President and I was given ‘The Great Pandemic of 2020’.  So I will soon be rolling out and handing over the torch to Doug Goss in January.  I know that Doug will be a great President for next year and I hope he will continue to deliver on some exciting new resources for our members.  The best of all…is that we have an amazing staff at SCCAOR who really stepped up this year on so many levels.  I couldn’t be more proud of them and I want to give them a huge thank you for being so dedicated to our membership and mission at SCCAOR.  I also want to thank the entire membership and our Board of Directors for allowing me to lead this year.  It’s been an honor and a heartwarming experience.  I truly felt blessed and appreciated by so many of you throughout the year.  I can’t wait until we can gather again and I can start giving out hugs again.

Until then…Thank you and I wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, a HAPPY NEW YEAR and a big hug from me to all of you.

Members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) donated hundreds of toys and pajamas at their recent drive-through Toy Drive event. In addition to the donations, a total of $3950 was raised online, with everything going to the Kinship, Adoptive and Foster Parent Association (KAFPA). 

“The REALTOR® Community has once again shown their incredible support for a great cause,” said Sandy Jamison, SCCAOR President. “KAFPA does amazing work for foster kids in our community. We couldn’t all meet in person this year but I am amazed at all the toys and money that was raised by our members.”

KAFPA is a nonprofit that provides resources and advocates for the needs of foster and adoptive families in Santa Clara County. Denise Marchu, the Program Director at KAFPA, said that year, in particular, has been very difficult.

“Several of our biggest donors have not been able to get us gifts for the children and we were worried we would not have enough toys,” she said. “However, with the generosity of SCCAOR, we are now able to assure our families that we will be able to serve all our children.”

The SCCAOR Toy Drive usually occurs each year during a Member Appreciation Holiday Party. Due to the pandemic and social distancing restrictions, the party had to be canceled and many were left wondering if the toy drive would also be postponed. 

“We knew we had to shift this event around to make it both safe and successful,” said Jodee Sousa, SCCAOR Events and Education Manager. “We had members drive-through our parking lot with their donations inside their trunk. When they pulled up, a staff member removed the toys and pajamas and placed a holiday goodie bag inside their trunk as a token of our appreciation.”

KAFPA will deliver these toys to foster children ranging in age from birth to 21 years old.

“They come from all walks of life, usually with nothing but the clothes on their back,” Marchu said.” Our families provide everything for them from necessities to emotional support. You have no idea how much it means to our foster parents and the children when they know the community is supporting them.”

The REimagine! Real Estate Virtual Conference and Expo was put on by the California Association of REALTORS® and took place from October 12-14. It featured a full lineup of thought leaders, keynote speakers and other real estate professionals.

Did you miss any of the sessions? No worries! C.A.R. is hosting all the sessions “On Demand” until December 16!

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) is proud to announce endorsements for the following candidates for the City of San Jose General Election.

  • Incumbent Dev Davis for City Council District 6
  • Incumbent Lan Diep for City Council District 4

The SCCAOR Board of Directors recognizes these candidates as aligning with our mission as a pro-housing and property rights association and are proud to offer them our endorsement. To get involved in either candidate’s race or if you are interested in any promotional material, such as lawn signs, please contact the candidate on their campaign websites listed below.


Councilmember Davis is a proud homeowner in District 6 and wants to continue to make San Jose a great place to raise her family. She has been a champion of REALTOR Party values consistently defending private property rights and homeownership while making the necessary decisions to increase affordable housing. In her first term she has successfully eliminated barriers to building ADUs, facilitated new development of affordable housing for those most vulnerable such as veterans and seniors, while protecting existing neighborhoods and homeownership opportunities. In her second term Councilmember Davis plans to continue to protect home ownership and create more affordable housing for the most vulnerable populations to address the housing and homelessness crisis in our region.

“I am proud to receive the endorsement of SCCAOR for my re-election campaign. It has been an honor to serve as San Jose’s District 6 Councilwoman for nearly four years. Over this time, I have worked hard to be collaborative and to do what is best for the residents of District 6 and our city. There is more for us to do together, which is why I hope you will support my re-election.”
-Dev Davis

 


Councilmember Diep has called San Jose home for over 20 years. He is a true voice of his community and is consistently working to gather as much input from the District 4 constituents as possible. The Councilmember has been a consistent advocate for REALTOR® Party values, with a focus on increasing the housing supply in the City of San Jose. He strives to make it easier to get shovels in the ground; streamline our permitting process, reduce fees, and cut red tape so we can begin to increase our housing supply and reduce costs for everyone. Councilmember Diep will continue to work to build more housing of all types and affordability to ensure the right home exists for every person in the community.

 “I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® as I continue to fight for a more accountable, transparent, and responsive San Jose. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but I know there’s still so much more to do.”
-Lan Diep

 

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) is proud to announce endorsements of Alex Kennett for re-election to the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority as the District 1 Director. The SCCAOR Board of Directors recognizes Alex as aligning with our mission as a pro-housing and property rights association and are proud to offer him our endorsement.

“I am proud to receive the endorsement from SCCAOR and continue to represent the real estate industry as I serve on the Open Space Authority.”
-Alex Kennett

Alex is a member of SCCAOR and a past Chair of the Local Government Relations Committee. He has a strong understanding of REALTOR party values making him a great choice to continue to serve on the Open Space Authority. Alex is a long time resident of south county and knows the region very well. This gives him the expertise to understand the important balance between protecting our region’s valuable green space and facilitating new housing development in the right areas.